Volleyball Weekly Notebook: Championship Preview
Monday, November 25, 2013
Volleyball Weekly Notebook: Championship Preview

A 2013 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season that saw eight league teams battling for tournament positions into the final conference weekend is complete as the field is set for the 2013 MVC Volleyball Championship this weekend. Play at this year's championship will begin Thursday, Nov. 28, at 5:00 p.m., in Wichita, Kan., on the campus of Wichita State University at Charles Koch Arena.

Final tournament seeds are as follows:

Seed, Team MVC Record  
1. Wichita State (15-3) 
2. UNI (15-3)
3. Southern Illinois (13-5) 
4. Missouri State (12-6)
5. Illinois State (11-7)  
6. Bradley (7-11)

The Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Championship will get underway when No. 3 Southern Illinois takes on No. 6 Bradley in the tournament opener on Thursday, Nov. 28, at 5:00 p.m., followed by No. 4 Missouri State vs. No. 5 Illinois State at 7:30 p.m. The game one winner between SIU/BU will take on No. 2 UNI on Friday evening at 5:00 p.m. in the first semifinal while the MSU/ILS winner will face host and No. 1 Wichita State in the second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. 

Semifinal winners will face off for the Missouri Valley Conference automatic berth into the NCAA Volleyball Championship on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 4:37 p.m.

Both opening round and semifinal matches are available live online at ESPN3.com, while the championship contest on Saturday will be televised live on Fox Sports Midwest at 4:37 p.m.

Greg Halbleib (play-by-play) and Coach Linda Dollar (analyst) will be on the call for all five tournament matches.

Tournament Titles
Since 1982, only four current league members have ever won the MVC Tournament title. In 31 seasons of Valley volleyball, UNI has claimed over half of all tourney titles, an amazing 16 tournament championships (.516), while Illinois State has captured nine (.290). The only two other teams to ever win the league tournament are Missouri State (four, .129) and Wichita State (one, .032).

Last Time They Won
Of the four league members to have won tournament championships since 1982, UNI was the most recent winner (2011). Missouri State last won the tournament in 2008 (the last time it was in Wichita), while the Shockers have not won the tournament since 2004 (also in Wichita). Illinois State, while second in the total number of tournament championships, has not won the league’s automatic NCAA berth since 1997.

Five of the six teams in the 2013 MVC Volleyball Tournament has finished as the runner-up, with the most coming from Missouri State (11). The Panthers and Shockers have come up short in the title match five times apiece, while Illinois State has four second-place finishes and Southern Illinois was the runner-up twice. The only other current league team to finish second in the tournament is Drake (three times).

Tournament Resumes

Below are the tournament resumes for the six teams vying for the 2013 MVC Volleyball Tournament title:

Wichita State (No. 1 seed)

  • 14-16 (.467) overall record
  • 11th-straight tournmament appearance (17th overall)
  • 6-5 vs. Missouri State (potential semifinal)
  • 1-3 vs. Illinois State (potential semifinal)
  • One tournament title (2004)
  • Five tournament runner-up finishes

UNI (No. 2 seed)

  • 40-16 (.714) overall record
  • 28th-straight tournmament appearance (29th overall)
  • 4-2 vs. Southern Illinois (potential semifinal)
  • 3-1 vs. Bradley (potential semifinal)
  • 16 tournament titles (last in 2011)
  • Five tournament runner-up finishes

Southern Illinois (No. 3 seed)

  • 7-16 (.304) overall record
  • First back-to-back tournmament appearance since 1995-1996 (15th overall)
  • Has never faced quarterfinal opponent BU
  • Never won tournament title
  • Two tournament runner-up finishes

Missouri State (No. 4 seed)

  • 29-25 (.537) overall record
  • 14th-straight tournmament appearance (28th overall)
  • 6-9 vs. Illinois State (quarterfinal opponent)
  • Four tournament titles (last in 2008)
  • 11 tournament runner-up finishes

Illinois State (No. 5 seed)

  • 34-22 (.607) overall record
  • Has appeared in 31 of 32 tournaments (except 2009)
  • 9-6 vs. Missouri State (quarterfinal opponent)
  • Nine tournament titles (last in 1997)
  • Four tournament runner-up finishes

Bradley (No. 6 seed)

  • 4-9 overall record
  • First tournament appearance since 2005 (ninth overall)
  • Has never faced quarterfinal opponent SIU

Finalists Advance to NCAAs
The MVC has earned 21 NCAA Tournament bids in the past seven seasons. Notably, every team to reach the MVC Tournament final has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in that time span.

Five Sets Favor Upsets?
Each of the last five MVC Tournament matches to go five sets have been won by the lower (worse)-seeded team.

The last time a higher-seeded team won a five-set match at the MVC Tournament was the 2004 championship match.

Comebacks of Note
The only two teams to rally from an 0-2 deficit to win an MVC Tournament match were Illinois State over Bradley (1999 semifinals) and Illinois State over Southern Illinois (1983 finals).

Since the start of the 1995 format still in use today, set one winners have won 72 of 85 matches, including 15-straight contests.

This week's Missouri Valley Conference Players of the Week are Wichita State's Sam Sanders, Loyola's Stephanie Kinane and Southern Illinois' Meg Viggars.

Sam Sanders, Sr., OH, Wichita State
Sanders led the Shockers to a road win at Missouri State and a share of the Missouri Valley Conference title. She averaged 4.75 kills, 0.75 assists, 1.00 dig, 1.00 block and 5.38 points per set, while hitting .340. She had a career-high 19 kills on a career-high 47 swings with just three errors against the Bears. She also added three assists, four digs and four blocks in the match.

Other Notable Performances: Alise Tupuritis (BU); Sarah Madden (DU); Ashley Rosch (ILS); Morgan Dall (INS); Morgan Reardon (LUC); Carly Thomas (MSU); Shelby Kintzel (UNI); Taylor Pippen (SIU); Sam Sanders (WSU).

Stephanie Kinane, So., DS/L, Loyola
Kinane had an outstanding week, averaging a whopping 7.38 digs per set in Loyola’s two matches in Iowa. The sophomore was fantastic in the Ramblers’ season finale on Saturday at UNI, digging a school-record 39 balls as Loyola came up just short in an agonizing 16-14 setback in the fifth set. That performance came on the heels of a 20-dig effort in just three sets on Friday as Loyola dispatched Drake. Kinane’s 522 digs this season are good for fourth on LU’s single-season list.

Other Notable Performances: Lauren Zerante (BU); Sarah Madden (DU); Emily Orrick (ILS); Cassandra Willis (INS); Ashley Mason (MSU); Amie Held (UNI); Alex Rivera (SIU); Ashley Andrade (WSU).

Meg Viggars, Fr., S, Southern Illinois
Viggars was the Salukis’ spark over the weekend recording her fifth and sixth double-double of the season as Southern Illinois topped Illinois State and Indiana State. Viggars compiled 22 kills to average 2.44 per set. She also was efficient behind the service line knocking in four aces. The freshman setter also recorded 25 digs to average 2.78 per set and tallied five block assists.

Other Notable Performances: Melissa Hoerber (BU); Makena Schoene (DU); Bree Spangler (INS); Morgan Reardon (LUC); Simone House (MSU); Leigh Pudwill (UNI); Hannah Kaminsky (SIU); Dani Mostrom (WSU).